An AUSMED Australia and The Nurse Break collaboration brings you this scrolling feed of stories from those on the frontline of the health service!  Want to be featured here? GO HERE to learn more.

Requested to be anonymous. Dr C. is a Medical Registrar in Victoria

I’m sure a lot of people have had their plans for 2020 thrown out the window with the COVID19 pandemic. In the setting of this global pandemic, all of us have got to continue our social distancing to #flattenthecurve. Fortunately in Australia, our healthcare system is, broadly speaking, fairly robust, accessible and provides quality healthcare to anyone who stumbles into an Emergency Department or GP practice. And fortunately, we have also managed to flatten the curve sufficiently to avoid pushing our ICU beds and workload beyond maximal capability.

However, anyone who has worked in the public healthcare system knows how closely our hospitals run to capacity even without this coronavirus floating around. If you or a family member has ever had to wait long hours to see a doctor in ‘Emergency’ or otherwise, it’s because there are often other patients with acute, urgent medical issues requiring rapid life-saving assessment and treatment.

Long wait times often means prioritising different patients, and can result in people with broken limbs, mental health difficulties, gastro, pain, and many more non-life threatening complaints waiting hours for treatment. This COVID19 pandemic will prove challenging to Australian healthcare, wait times with inevitably lengthen, hospital capacity will be put under pressure.

The challenges are great, but the difference between becoming Italy or South Korea is mostly in the hands (ideally washed) of the population. Public health is a team effort, understanding the symptoms, avoiding unnecessary social contact, working from home where possible, seeking medical attention when appropriate will also help prevent a future surge in cases and ease pressure on the public health system.

The differing political responses to the pandemic around the world have varying levels of effectiveness from a health and economic standpoint. Policy, laws and rules can only “control” so much, in the end, the responsibility is in our collective hands. The end is not yet in sight unfortunately, there is still a long way to go in controlling the pandemic in terms of going back to the norm.

Stay safe.